Best Foldable Laptop Table for Travel

foldinglaptopdesks023-800

We all know and admire laptops as wonderful little machines that combine monitor, computer, and keyboard in an efficient power-saving portable unit ready to go where you go. However, the major downside to using them is that the design of a laptop violates most basic ergonomic requirements. That is, with the keyboard and monitor in such close proximity, it can cause us to hunch and sacrifice neck, back, and wrist posture to use one. Consequently, laptops are simply excluded from all ergonomic recommendations for full-time computer usage.

But for the traveler — laptops are a necessity.  Those of us on the go need to pay special attention to minimize risk and still find healthy ways to use a laptop by using a foldable laptop table (while standing) and sacrificing some neck posture for proper wrist and back positioning.

While both the Varidesk Laptop 30 and Uptrak Sit Stand Desk mentioned on our conversion kits page are two of our favorite adjustable height laptop desks, they’re large, heavy and are not exactly designed with a traveler in mind. We seeked out and found two very different foldable laptop tables for standing that fit the bill combining the features that meet all our needs.

Here’s 3 most important features we looked for:

– Tough yet lightweight for travel
– Adjustable height
– Compact Design
– Ease of use


The iCraze

iCraze Folding Laptop Desk

The iCraze is the lightweight standing laptop table equivalent of a Transformers toy from the 1980s.   There legs bend and can be configured a huge number of different configurations.   To adjust the iCraze you hold the button that is located on each of the joints (There are 6 total), change the position, and release the button to lock it in place.

foldinglaptopdesk201-800

You’ll notice around each spring loaded button there are degree markings that aid in helping you dial in the same angle on both the left and right joints.   There was a slight learning curve as to how to configure the legs to get it stable, but once you find your favorite configuration, you can simply write down the settings you used.

foldinglaptopdesks019-800

The ability of the iCraze to transform (once mastered) should work great on the go, at home or at work.  At a mere 5 pounds it’s small & light enough to throw in your carry on.  Materials are solid and can support laptops up to 30 lbs but of course do not expect to lean on it AT ALL.  At full height it felt stable enough for the laptop but I wouldn’t be comfortable resting my wrists on it.

foldinglaptopdesks022-800

It’s made of aluminum so it’s tough and durable. The dimensions are 16.5 W X 10.75 D, with a 1/2 inch lip so it can be angled. The table section is grooved and has enough of a ledge to keep the laptop from sliding off even when the desk part is on an angle BUT they have provided you with two slip on clips to accommodate thicker laptops.

foldinglaptopdesks028-800

The vented model has two fans that are powered by the USB port on your laptop and they seem decent enough quality. They are extremely silent and will do a great job dispersing heat from the bottom of the laptop and will keep most laptops cool enough to potentially extend the lifespan of the internal components.

foldinglaptopdesks027-800

The mouse pad stand is a nice addition.  It’s 5.75″ x 6.25″ and removable and can be slipped into a notch on either side and tightened down with the included hand screw.

 


Stand Steady Traveler Folding Stand Up Desk

foldinglaptopdesks015-800

The top of Stand Steady’s Traveler Foldable Stand Up Desk is 19.7 inches x 11 inches and is made of aluminum.  It comes in a choice of three colors and has rounded corners. There’s a handy flap that extends out to prevent the laptop from sliding if you decide to angle it using the tilting mechanism by pressing buttons on the side.

The Traveler Weighs 2 pounds so it’s probably lightest standing desk riser, yet it feels strong and stable.

foldinglaptopdesks004-800

It is very easy to collapse down flat, making it a breeze to store and will also easily fit into your carry-on luggage.

foldinglaptopdesks007-800

The legs allow the height to adjust from 9.25 inches to 12.8 inches.  Height adjustment is made by undoing a latch (similar to the leg latches on camera tripods) and then you pull or push the leg to one of four height settings that click into place.

The only downsides I experienced personally with this mini standing desk is that at it’s maximum height it was too short for me (I’m 6’1″).  Otherwise the compact, simple and light weight design will appeal to those who try to keep their travel bags as light as possible.

foldinglaptopdesks014-800

 


No Clear Winner

foldinglaptopdesks024-800

Both are very different yet capable at what they’re meant for.  I’d say that if you’re about 5’9″ or taller, I’d suggest going with the iCraze to bring the laptop keyboard up to where your arms and wrists are in-line and are parallel to the floor.  Otherwise, the Stand Steady will offer quicker fold & go capability along with the lighter packing weight that frequent travelers usually desire.

 

Ergotron Workfit-T Review: A Solid VARIDESK Alternative

I’ve been alternating between sitting and standing at my desk for about a year now, my first standing desk was made of a cardboard box and a shelf.  DIY standing desks are popular, but far from a permanent solution.  You need something easily adjustable if you’re going to be honest with yourself about being consistent at sitting less.

While there are plenty of amazing electronic adjustable height desks available now, they can be expensive and require you to replace existing furniture.  That’s where an adjustable desktop converter comes in to save the day.

So far, the Varidesk has been highly regarded as one of the best in the desktop converter segment, and ever since the Pro Plus series, there has only been one question – Can anything beat it?

Ergotron, a Minnesota-based display mounting and mobility products company has responded, and the response is beautiful.

Say hello to the Ergotron Workfit-T, a very solid desktop converter that looks like it’s from the future.  It glides up and down to various heights quietly and with minimal effort.  Ergotron is globally known to offer high quality & elegant products for both consumer and industrial applications.  The Workfit-T is no exception.  This thing is built like a tank.  Right away, I was impressed with the quality, packing, and the fact that it was fully assembled and ready to go out of the box. It even came with a cable organization kit (mesh hose & zip ties).

Instructions are simple.  You unpack the Workfit-T out and set it on your table (I’d recommend having someone help lift it).   It does not require clamping or mounting onto the surface.  It was unpacked, on my desk and ready to use in under 10 minutes.

The first thing I noticed is the large work surface.  The surface is 35″ wide x 23″ deep and is large enough for dual monitors or a single monitor and laptop.  Ergotron says it can handle 35 lbs of weight, but it feels like it could handle more.  The platform is extremely stable —you can even lean on it without worrying about tipping it over.

Elevation Mechanism

Height adjustments on the Workfit-T are made using two levers under the work surface.

It takes very little hand pressure to silently engage the heavy spring mechanism embedded underneath to come to your aid in lifting up the work surface, substantially reducing the effort.

You’ll get up to 15 inches (38cm) of height — which is plenty for me and I’m 6’1″.  The same process lets you lower it down in mere seconds.

Keyboard Deck

The suspended keyboard deck is also about 4.5″ below the work surface to maintain a healthy ergonomic spacing between screen height and keyboard.  It measures 25″ x 9″ and is just large enough for a standard 18″ keyboard and mouse.  I personally had no trouble fitting a standard sized keyboard along with wrist rests, but note that this may be an issue for someone with a specialty gaming or a large ergonomic keyboard that is wider.

Varidesk vs Ergotron

While the Ergotron model is similar in design to the Varidesk while at it’s lowest (sitting) position, the primary advantage that the WorkFit-T has over the Varidesk is the height-adjustment mechanism.  When raising the Varidesk, it pivots up and away from the desk and towards you as it rises.  You actually have to take a step back as you raise it.  The Workfit-T work surface adjusts straight up and down, allowing for a space-saving and easier, healthier transition to standing setup.

VarideskProPlus-800

VARIDESK Pro Plus

The Varidesk protrudes over a foot from the edge of the desk.  This can be an issue if you have other items on the sides or above your desk you need to be able to reach, or if your office space is tight.

The only benefit I could see in using the Varidesk Pro Plus over the Workfit-T is the much larger keyboard tray.  Large ergonomic or gaming keyboard users will definitely need the extra space.

If I had to pick Varidesk vs Ergotron, I’d go with Ergotron for the up/down motion.

Optional Accessories

The attachment slot in the back allows you choose from a variety of monitor arm attachments, freeing up additional cubic inches of work space from the surface.

33-397-085-dualriser_lg

Final Verdict

I have no hesitation recommending the Workfit-T.  While both the Workfit-T and the Varidesk offer converting your desk to having height adjustability, the WorkFit-T has the edge in usability and ergonomics, thanks to Ergotron’s linear elevation mechanism and design allowing for optional monitor arm attachments.  If you’re ready to get up off your seat more and aren’t quite ready to replace your desk, you won’t have any regrets going with this thing.

 

Four Reasons a $22 DIY Standing Desk is a Bad Idea

The story of a $22 standing desk made of an IKEA coffee table and screwed-on shelf has gone viral.  Named the Standdesk 2200, it was built by Colin Nederkoorn, the CEO of Customer.io.

ikea standing desk

Huffington Post called this coffee table placed on top of a desk the ‘Ultimate IKEA Hack’.  Colin claims that it’s a cheap alternative to spending $800 on a proper adjustable standing desk.

Here’s why I feel like that’s a side order of baloney:

1. It’s simply not adjustable.  Along with extended sitting, standing all day is also not a good idea.  The CDC recommends using a sit-stand device to take breaks from standing. With a non-adjustable DIY setup like this, every time you take break from standing, it means you’ll need to stop working, because you’ve lost access to your workstation until you’re ready to stand up again.  What about days your legs and feet hurt from the hike or when you’re sick?  Chances are you’ll need to rearrange your desk, and unfortunately some folks may not go back to standing again.

2. Different users need different height settings for proper ergonomics.  If the computer is shared by a wife, friend, coworker, roommate or child they need to be able to alter the height of both the keyboard tray and the monitor.  Remember that at a traditional sitting desk, each user typically adjusts the chair height to a comfortable position.

3. Contrary to Colin’s claim, you don’t need an $800 product to be equipped with a proper adjustable standing desk.  Stand Desk has a $200 UpTrak that’s been flying off the shelves, and the $325 Varidesk is an elegant conversion setup that fits on top of your current workspace.  Budgeting out a $200-300 furniture investment over the course of even just a year is less than a $1 a day, but will last you many years of healthy & ergonomic computing.

ikea standing desk4. No matter what color you paint an IKEA coffee table on top of another desk, it simply looks terrible. Your friends (and dare you do this at work, your coworkers) will compliment your creativity but secretly laugh at you and think you’ve lost it for stacking tables (and especially for calling it the Standdesk 2200).

Listen, jokes aside, a DIY approach is a fine way and entry to the health benefit filled world of sitting less.  Colin’s desk is a fun and creative project and yes you could get by for a few days by using some shipping boxes to see if standing is for you.  Just promise yourself that once you decide to adopt sitting less at your desk, you’ll treat yourself and your desk with the same respect and ergonomic awareness you would a comfortable chair and consider making the investment in one of the many affordable standing desks available today.

 

Images by quietkid, estherbester.

Standing Desk Mat Buyer’s Guide

Desk treadmills are great, but among all the best standing desk accessories, the standing desk mat may just be the most important.  But why do you really need a mat for standing desks?

The shift to standing more often can take the body a little time to adjust.  There is a chance of soreness throughout the body as your muscles and joints tone and strengthen.  Even with comfortable shoes, a standing desk floor mat will help take some of the strain off your knees and back which will lead to being able to stand longer.

best standing desk matThat’s why you see anti-fatigue mats in factories, restaurant kitchens, cash registers and anywhere workers are standing for long periods. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends using anti-fatigue mats, along with varying standing positions and wearing comfortable, supportive footwear, to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

I was surprised how well this simple pad helps delay fatigue compared to standing on a hard floor.   When I first started using a standing desk, I was having trouble standing for more than a few minutes at a time.  This was somewhat frustrating.  At first I didn’t think a standing desk mat would make a difference since our office is carpeted, but I was very surprised at how much it helped.

Not all mats are the same.  Some are designed to be durable and survive dirty industrial warehouse conditions and some are for occasional kitchen tasks.  The best standing desk mats should meet certain requirements.

Here’s what I look for:

Material:  Mats may contain vinyl, PVC, rubber, closed-cell foam, and polypropylene.  A goods standing desk mat will offer enough support to take the pressure off your joints without being too squishy and should have a polyurethane cover.  Polyurethane is durable, very easy to clean, won’t leach chemicals or off-gas like PVC or certain foams, and is resistant to mildew and dirt.

standing-desk-mat-material

Size: Moving around is an important part of maximizing the health advantages of using a standing desk. You’ll need some room for that.  We recommend a medium mat (20″ x 34″) for smaller workspaces and cubicles and a large mat (24″ x 36″) for larger workspaces

beveled-edge

Edge: Should absolutely have beveled edges to avoid curling and essentially a tripping hazard.

Thickness: Most of the sub-$50 mats are only going to be less than 3/8″ thick.  In my experience (and with paying attention to how my back and neck felt) this is not enough.  The best mats we found were all between 1/2″ to to a full inch thickness.  Aim for 3/4″ thick or better.

Cost: Your work environment is where you spend hours every day standing.  It’s important to remember that there are times it’s worth spending a little more when health & injury prevention is a factor.  That said, don’t go overboard either: both our picks are under $100.  Spending more than that isn’t going to get you much more in terms of benefits.

Without further ado, the best standing desk mat:

Imprint CumulusPRO™ Commercial Grade Anti-Fatigue Mat

Imprint_Standing_Desk_Mat-341x256

These durable mats are made with Cushion-Core Technology to reduce fatigue and increase comfort and productivity.  The environmentally friendly and non-toxic one-piece polyurethane construction and high-density core is guaranteed not to lose support over time.

Beveled edge design and no-curl edges reduce trip hazard while the non-slip bottom keeps mat in place.

All Imprint Comfort Mats come with a 100% unconditional lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) & Tested and certified by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI)

Large size (24″ x 36″):

Imprint CumulusPRO Commercial Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat 24 in. x 36 in. x 3/4 in. Black (Kitchen)


List Price: $79.99
New From: $79.49 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Medium size (20″ x 30″):

Imprint CumulusPRO Professional Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat 20 in. x 30 in. x 3/4 in. Black (9020) (Kitchen)


List Price: $39.99
New From: $34.84 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

 

If you plan to stand for even a few hours a day, buy this mat now.  You’ll soon realize the return on your investment when you feel the reduced fatigue allows you to transition to standing longer.  There’s no better accessory to your adjustable table or conversion standing desk.

How to Choose the Best Laptop Bed Desk

We obviously love the benefits of standing while we work, but we also know that it isn’t always an option.  There is the obvious medical necessity to sit or lay down for some, but if we must work in a sedentary mode, which position is best for our health: Sitting or some variation of laying down with a laptop desk for bed?

Before I dove into researching and testing for the best laptop table for bed, I set out to research the effects of reclining for prolonged periods — and specifically how it stacks up, from the health standpoint, against motionless sitting.  My findings were somewhat inconclusive — However, it’s a no-brainer that reclining is infinitely more relaxing, comfortable, stress-free.  More importantly it feels more sustainable for long periods of time.  As long as some form of exercise is included on scheduled intervals of 20 to 60 minutes, a benefit of stress reduction can be a significant attribute that puts lying down ahead of sitting.

What features to look at when selecting a bed desk

Table & Table Dimensions: It’s important to think about exactly what you’ll need an adjustable laptop table for.  Will you only use it for your laptop?  Are you going to be writing?  Do you need to have a book open?

Tilt: This is a nice feature, but it’s important to consider that a tilt function on a cheaply built desk bed has the potential to become unstable over time.  This will lead to frustration, so it may be wise to spend more here if tilting is a feature you need.

Height & Clearance: How high or low does it go?  The desk should be easy to adjust and not only does it need to clear the top of a bed, make sure to measure and check if the base will fit under your bed.

Wheels: Some models have locking wheels to prevent it from moving around on bare floors.  Few models also offer the ability to easily remove the wheels for better clearance in fitting under a bed.

Surface: Is the desk smooth for writing? Or textured for extra grip while tilted?

Weight Capacity: Heavy laptops & books may be a concern with a desk with a low weight capacity, but consider if you will occasionally be using the desk as leverage to stand up.

and without further ado…  

The Best Laptop Desks for Bed

KIST Industries’ Best Over Bed Table

best bed desk

Several factors make this our choice as the best bed desk, but the one that stands out the most is that this thing is solid.  While other bed desks typically weigh 10-20 lbs, this heavy duty and durable piece of furniture weighs a whopping 42 pounds.

The table has a 27.25″ X 17.7″ section that has the ability to tilt 50 degrees, and in both directions, allowing it to be used on either side of the bed, and has much larger surface on both the tilt feature and the side table than just about any other table on the market to conveniently accommodate activities from working on a laptop to serving meals.

kist laptop desk for bed

Each side of the tilt surface also has stops built in to prevent your laptop, book or tablet from sliding off. There are four adjustable knobs to lock the table top more rigidly in place.

There’s a patented adjustment wheel on the arm that easily adjusts the height of the unit (to a maximum of 46.85″) simply by turning it with minimal effort.  What this means is that this adjustable laptop table can effectively transform to become an excellent standing desk!

The wheels under the unit can be removed so that the base can slide under low beds (With wheels on, 4″ of clearance is required).   Platform beds are also not an issue, as with 360 degrees of motion, the base can be turned away instead of having to place it under the bed.

Assembly is a piece of cake as the unit ships partially pre-assembled in 5 pieces for extra convenience.

We couldn’t find any other bed desk that came close to this one in features and durability, plus a lifetime warranty makes the $299 price tag appear to be an excellent deal for something that you’ll use daily.


Carex Overbed Table

budget best desk bed

Our budget pick is the Carex because it’s made of a lightweight, durable 16″ x 33″ ABS plastic table, that adjusts for right or left handed use, and is height adjustable from 28″ to 42″.

We love the fact that just like the KIST model, this adjustable laptop table can also be raised up to a height to fully function as a standing workstation.

Level Board Takes Your Standing Desk to the Next Level

 

fluidstance-level

Santa Barbara start-up Fluidstance believes that standing at your desk is old news.  Their new product, the Level balance board is an elegant, fun, and space-saving alternative to the pricey treadmill desks and is aimed to bring motion to your current adjustable or converted standing desk, such as our current favorite, the VARIDESK Pro Plus.

By making subconscious adjustments to maintain balance, the company claims a 15% increase in heart rate and lower leg range of motion that is comparable to walking.

You can take a look at the team’s video below.

Crafted from military grade aluminum with a laminated wooden finish, the Level measures 26.5 inches by 12.2 inches, and weighs 7.5 lbs.

The company claims there is no statistical difference in the amount of typing errors that someone makes standing on their product compared to the same person in a seated environment.

Fluidstance’s Indiegogo page has already raised more than $300,000 of a $40,000 goal, proving that mobility at your office desk, the conference room, or even the living room is becoming very popular.